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  • Feb 18, 2019
    The Compound Eye Feb 15, 2019 Policy in Focus: Interim Budget, 2019: Instead of a policy, this fortnight we highlight announcements from the Interim Budget that embrace the development of science and technology in India: There has been marginal hike in budget allocations to Department of Science and Technology – DST has been allocated INR 5321 crore […]
  • Feb 14, 2019
    Ambassador Shivshankar Menon’s recent keynote address at JNU pulled few punches in describing what ails the study of international relations in India. My colleague Pranay Kotasthane has already weighed in on the issue, arguing against an over-reliance on history at the expense of other disciplines. Some of us also wondered if it was possible to […]
  • Feb 14, 2019
    This is the tenth edition of The Jobscape, our weekly round-up of news and opinion on the state of employment and job creation in India. In this edition, we look at the official job numbers from the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), the interim budget, universal basic income and lessons from China. Read more
  • Feb 11, 2019
    दिसंबर 2018 के चुनाव में जीत कर शेख हसीना एक बार फिर बांग्लादेश की प्रधानमंत्री बन गई हैं। यह भारत-बांग्लादेश संबंधों के लिए अच्छी खबर है यह तो हम सब जानते हैं। लेकिन कम ही लोग यह जानते हैं कि बांग्लादेश की आर्थिक प्रगति के कारनामे ने इस रिश्ते को एक नया आयाम दिया है। […]
  • Feb 10, 2019
    The promise of delivering speedy justice has moved members of the Lok Sabha to okay the , 2018, early last month. In response to concerns about privacy violations, the Bill proposes constituting a regulatory board, which will have the difficult task of finding ways to secure informed consent from people who may not understand what […]
  • Feb 9, 2019
    The raison d’être for intelligence analysis is being able to predict near-future events with reasonable accuracy. Based on the little that I have read, there is no mechanism that seeks to improve Indian intelligence analysts’ accuracy over time. This leads to what Philip Tetlock calls ‘outcome-irrelevant learning’.  This is a situation where in no matter what happens […]
  • Feb 8, 2019
    “Trade wars are good, and easy to win!”, Mr Trump had exclaimed. About a year after such an exclamation, there are hundreds of farmers, Trump’s traditional voter base, gathered around in Washington, to pressure policy makers and the Trump administration to end the trade war by describing the hardships they are facing. Farm incomes in […]
  • Feb 7, 2019
    The Compound Eye – Feb 1, 2019 Policy in Focus – DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018: The Lok Sabha passed the DNA Technology Bill, 2018, 2018 on January 8. The Bill will now have to be introduced in the Rajya Sabha’s next session, failing which it can lapse. What does the Bill […]
  • Feb 5, 2019
    Is it possible to consider no-first use as a means of bridging trust deficits between nuclear states? The present international system is as dangerous as it was in 1953 – at the start of the nuclear arms race. At least that’s what the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists believes, as the Doomsday Clock remains at two minutes […]
  • Feb 5, 2019
    Could an ill-tempered tweet lead to nuclear war? A new bill in the US Senate aims to make it less likely. A new bill introduced in the Senate of the United States aims to establish a policy of no-first use (NFU) of nuclear weapons. At first glance, the bill dated January 30, 2019 seems to be a long […]
  • Feb 5, 2019
    Some debates, it seem, never go away. In the first half of the 19th century, France has some of the most extreme protectionist laws in the world. It had 58 prohibited items for import and 12 items for export. Ideas of free trade, espoused by Jean-Baptiste Say and Bastiat, had few takers. It would take away […]
  • Feb 1, 2019
    It’s not an overstatement to say that over the last twenty years, the world has grown increasingly used to American primacy and leadership. This primacy also spills over to the intellectual domain, where American perspectives and paradigms have shaped much of the field of International Relations. Alexander Dugin’s Last War of the World-Island attempts to […]
  • Jan 29, 2019
    The cookie dropped yesterday. After weeks of suspense, the US government charged Huawei, a Chinese networking equipment manufacturer, with violating US sanctions and stealing trade secrets from its American partner. The specific charges apart, US officials have made no secret that the action has two broader dimensions — the ongoing trade war with China and the wider geopolitical contest […]
  • Jan 26, 2019
    On the surface, it might appear to be paradoxical that while Prime Minister Narendra Modi once declared that the Constitution is a “holy book”, his government has presided over the weakening of several important institutions: the Council of Ministers is now fully subordinate to the PMO, and once relatively independent RBI, Central Information Commission and […]
  • Jan 24, 2019
    After the Canadian government arrested Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer and daughter of the founder of Huawei, a Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer, upon an extradition request by the United States, relations between China and Canada have taken a nosedive. In barely concealed retaliation, China arrested two Canadians over the past month, and then summarily re-sentenced […]
  • Jan 24, 2019
    This is the ninth edition of The Jobscape, our weekly round-up of news and opinion on the state of employment and job creation in India. In this edition, we look at the ministrations of Modi’s ministers, Ambani vs Bezos, jobs for trans men, and unfair taxes on angel investors. Read more
  • Jan 22, 2019
    Tony Joseph’s Early Indians, though not perfect, is nevertheless an important, accessible and thought-provoking work on Indian prehistory. Ghosts of Ancestors Past
  • Jan 22, 2019
    Over the past few days the #10YearChallenge meme on social media prompted people to post their 2009 selfies alongside their 2019 ones. Most people were interested in how they and other people had aged; while some posted snippets of how their life had changed from 10 years ago. Now imagine if you did this for […]
  • Jan 19, 2019
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    An article on Trump’s barbs that India is only building ‘libraries’ in Afghanistan. We find that though conveyed crudely, there is some truth in his argument – India has not done much since August 2017 when Trump announced his previous Afghanistan approach. So we look at some options for India on the security, political, and […]
  • Jan 17, 2019
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    Executive Summary In India, reform advocacy for the Intelligence community has largely been focused around parliamentary scrutiny over the intelligence agencies and removal of defunct ones. These suggested reforms, however, tend to overlook what is at the core of intelligence – people.  The success of intelligence operation is defined by the capability of officers conducting […]
  • Jan 16, 2019
    This is the eighth edition of The Jobscape, our weekly round-up of news and opinion on the state of employment and job creation in India. In this edition, we look at lost jobs , the new reservations, sexism and much more. Read more
  • Jan 16, 2019
    In my previous column “Towards global no-first use”(November 20), I had argued that as India acquires a reliable nuclear triad — the ability to carry out retaliatory strikes by land, air, sea and under-sea — we must adopt a new approach to our nuclear policy: “The completion of the triad calls for a profound review […]
  • Jan 15, 2019
    To untangle the sordid controversy over the removal, restitution and re-removal of Alok Verma as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director, it is useful to look at the affair from the perspective of ‘dharma’. Now the word ‘dharma’ is derived from the root ‘dhr’, which means ‘to hold together, to preserve, maintain or keep’. Dharma, therefore, is a set […]
  • Jan 12, 2019
    The FDI in e-commerce policy clarifications made by the DIPP was done in order to help the small retailers from getting exploited at the hands of the big e-commerce players. While it may help them in the short run, an atmosphere that is not conducive to investment in this sector is bound to hurt them […]
  • Jan 10, 2019
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    The US-China Trade War goes well beyond tariffs on steel. Tariffs might just be a current battle, but the real conflict between China and the United States could be on technology dominance. In Part two of the podcast, we talk about how the first moves have been made now in a US-China War for Technology. To use […]
  • Jan 10, 2019
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    In this podcast, we take a deep look at the trade-war between US and China. We begin by questioning the terminology itself. Is it a trade-war? Or is it just a tariff-battle? Further, we look at the domestic political economy of both the countries and how that manifests into such protectionist measures.
  • Jan 9, 2019
    In November 2018, the New York Times published a series that began with a story titled, The Land that Failed to Fail. The central argument of the piece is that defying Western expectations, the Communist Party has maintained its control in China while adopting elements of capitalism, eschewing political liberalisation, and pursuing innovation. The last of these three […]
  • Jan 8, 2019
    The Bulandshahr incident of December 2018 bears all the hallmarks of mobilised violence: an undisguised political purpose, backing from well-organised groups, and a disregard for the lives of civilians and police personnel alike. In addition to the loss of life and property, such violence undermines the state of liberty in the country. For the violence is often […]
  • Jan 8, 2019
    Stumbled upon by accident in the early 20thcentury, Kautilya’s Arthashastra is one of the most remarkable ancient Indian works ever discovered. Unfortunately, rather than seeing Kautilya as a member of a distinct intellectual tradition in his own right, studies of his work have been used to shoehorn him into a pre-existing school: Realism. Deepshikha Shahi’s Kautilya and Non-Western […]
  • Jan 8, 2019
    One of the signs of good literature is the ability to stay relevant with the passage of time. Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible, written in the 1950s, uses the Salem witch trials as an allegory for the paranoia surrounding Communism in the US after the end of the Second World War. It is a testament to […]
  • Jan 8, 2019
    The amount of information in a message, American engineer-mathematician Claude Shannon realised, is closely associated with its uncertainty. Shannon’s pioneering work on information theory follows from the simple insight that the more surprising a message is, the more information it carries. If you get a text message saying ‘the sun will set around 6 pm […]
  • Jan 7, 2019
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    There is a need to protect the data belonging to individuals in these situations, providing the government with two possible policy options: it can choose to either overhaul the Aadhaar architecture completely, or it can build in additional security measures to ensure that individual data is not compromised. Uninventing Aadhaar is not a practical proposal. […]
  • Jan 7, 2019
    As the GDPR seeks to protect data users in Europe (and regions where the EU laws apply), it might not really make a difference to data users in India. However, this law extends to both citizens as well as non citizens within the boundaries of the continent. So, if you have plans to travel to […]
  • Jan 7, 2019
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    We started this Brainstorm still reeling from the sweet rush of the Supreme Court decision declaring privacy as a fundamental right in India. This was followed by the encouraging news of an Expert Committee working on a new data protection law. Things seemed to be moving in the right direction: individuals would be vested with […]
  • Jan 7, 2019
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    A week ago, the Justice Srikrishna Committee released a draft Personal Data Protection Bill and a Report to go with it. This is another step in the progress that has been made in the past year to create a data protection framework for India. It started with the Supreme Court judgement that recognised privacy as […]
  • Jan 2, 2019
    2018 was the year when India looked beyond Pakistan and South Asia. Let 2019 be the year when India reimagines itself as an important node in several neighbourhoods. Read the full article on Pragati here.
  • Jan 2, 2019
    In January 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping stood at the podium in Davos defending economic globalisation. He argued that the world needed to “adapt to and guide economic globalization, cushion its negative impact, and deliver its benefits to all countries and all nations.” And in this process, “China’s development is an opportunity for the world.” […]
  • Jan 1, 2019
    The focus has to be on reforming PSU Banks and managing fiscal situation both at centre and states. The fiscal situation in the country continues to be under severe strain, and with the impending general election, there is a severe danger of setting the clock back. The finance minister has continued to assert that the […]
  • Jan 1, 2019
    ‘Soft power’ is overrated. In India it is over-celebrated too. The idea enjoys support across the political spectrum: Shashi Tharoor is an articulate proponent, and so is Venkaiah Naidu. Everything from Indian films, cricket, cuisine, yoga, spirituality and the insufferable television soap operas are claimed to be elements of India’s soft power. After all the […]
  • Jan 1, 2019
    New Year’s Day is a good time to reflect on what we need to learn in order to be successful and relevant in the years ahead. We enter 2019 amid profound uncertainties: the world order is changing, global economics is changing, our domestic politics is changing and a lot of this is being driven by […]
  • Dec 31, 2018
    The Justice Srikrishna Committee (formally called the Committee of Experts under the Chairmanship of Justice B N Srikrishna) is tasked with framing a robust data protection law for India. In November, 2017, the Committee released the White Paper – exploring the contours of data protection legislation across the world, and called upon stakeholders to comment […]
  • Dec 25, 2018
    Donald Trump is under heavy criticism for ordering a withdrawal of US troops from Syria and Afghanistan. Whatever you might say about the manner in which he made and announced his decisions, on Afghanistan at least, he is not wrong. If you look at it from an American perspective, it’s hard to explain why US troops are still […]
  • Dec 21, 2018
    Over the last few months, after winning a closely-fought election, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has successfully manoeuvred Turkey into a position of influence by smartly using the cards he has been dealt. On the other hand, the country’s economy is almost certainly on the brink of recession because of his mismanagement. In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s announcement of an […]
  • Dec 21, 2018
    The presence of women in combat roles is a matter of mindset, and what better place to change it than the Indian Army? The issue for the Army to ponder is not whether women can be inducted in combat roles, but how to make it happen. Otherwise, it is a matter of time before India’s legal […]
  • Dec 21, 2018
    A political slugfest about surgical strikes broke out after Lt Gen Hooda’s statements at the Military Literature Festival in Chandigarh on November 7, 2018. Lt Gen Hooda was the Northern Army Commander who supervised the execution of the strikes at Uri in 2016. The General opined that the strike had been politicised, and that it […]
  • Dec 20, 2018
    Chinese researcher He Jiankui – who announced on YouTube in November that he successfully modified the genes of Lulu and Nana, healthy newborn twins – has taken mankind one step closer to becoming the superpower that can triumph even nature in selecting our own genes. Scientists worldwide are appalled at Jiankui’s violation of a self-imposed […]
  • Dec 20, 2018
    कई विश्लेषकों का अनुमान है कि विश्व एक और शीत युद्ध की ओर अग्रसर हो रहा है। ऐसे में अमरीका और चीन दोनों वैश्वीकरण से जैसे-जैसे दूर होंगे, भारत की भूमिका और अहम हो जाएगी। एक उपाय है जिससे भारत इस संकट को खुद के लिए मौके में बदल सकता है – व्यापार शर्तों का […]
  • Dec 19, 2018
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    By Pranay Kotasthane, Devika Kher, Pavan Srinath, and Aashish Chajjer Download the paper in PDF Financing public health in India is a vital challenge. As a response, the Union government transfers funds to the lower tiers of government, specifically meant to improve the public health services. The stated goal of specific transfers is to ensure […]
  • Dec 18, 2018
    Last week, several members of India and Russia’s think tank community sat down for two days of conversation in Moscow. Since so much of our knowledge on Russian affairs comes filtered either through the prism of Western reportage or though pro-establishment Russian media, engaging in closed-door discussions with leading intellectuals and policy influencers was particularly valuable. Here are some of my […]
  • Dec 13, 2018
    A couple checks into a clinic and looks up a menu of options: blue eyes, fair skin, excellent hand-eye co-ordination, good runner, team player. They are opting for the “sportsman” package with a few cosmetic perks for their future child. Having made their choices, they walk away. A few weeks later, their desirable embryo is […]
  • Dec 11, 2018
    India’s regulators work in mysterious ways. Take the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), which has suddenly decided that it wants to regulate internet services. As its name clearly suggests, TRAI’s job is to regulate the telecommunications industry. These are the companies that own and operate the “pipes”, like fibre-optic cables, towers, base stations, satellite […]
  • Dec 5, 2018
    Kaushik Basu’s new book titled”Republic of Beliefs” uses game theory to explore why some laws are obeyed while others are flouted. No one doubts that air pollution is a big concern in the National Capital Region of Delhi. Every year, the situation deteriorates by the time Diwali arrives and the Delhi government comes up with […]
  • Dec 4, 2018
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    Mobilised violence is detrimental to the democratic fabric of India. It prevents individuals from enjoying their right to speak, move and conduct business freely. It can also cause injuries and loss of life to bystanders, in addition to significant economic costs from a cessation of economic activity and damage to property. In this report, ‘mobilised violence’ is defined as an act or series of acts of violence committed by a group with the intent of furthering a political purpose.
  • Dec 4, 2018
    The global scientific community has been outraged by a Chinese scientist He Jiankui’s claim of creating the world’s first genetically modified baby using the gene editing technique CRISPR-Cas9. The scientist claims that baby Lulu – who differs from previous recipients of gene therapies like Layla Richards1 – was born with a genetic modification and will pass it on […]
  • Dec 4, 2018
    How is it that despite widespread corruption, inefficiency and incompetence across governments, India remains a country where, by and large, people are relatively safe, secure and prospering? Because, the outcome of the actions of the good people in government still outweighs the actions of the bad ones — even if the number of good people […]
  • Dec 3, 2018
    The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine following Sunday’s incident in the Kerch Strait. According to the Ukrainian Navy, Russian forces fired upon its vessels, injuring at least three sailors. Russian forces then reportedly captured three Ukrainian vessels along with 23 crew members. Moscow […]
  • Nov 29, 2018
    Even if this week’s news – that He Jiankui, a Chinese scientist, has produced gene-edited babies – had been found to be false, it would only have been a matter of time before someone did it successfully. The technique used for gene-editing, called CRISPR-Cas9, is relatively simple to use and a decent laboratory anywhere in the world […]
  • Nov 27, 2018
    This is the seventh edition of The Jobscape, our weekly round-up of news and opinion on the state of employment and job creation in India. In this edition, we look at the jobs mantra during elections, the eternal promise of reservations, trade wars, Brexit, and Facebook trying to wash away its sins. Read more
  • Nov 22, 2018
    The way ahead for India rests on reconciling Indian interests with the recent changes in the political landscape, many of which are outside Indian control. The turning global tide against Pakistan’s policy of using terror gives India some breathing space. It should participate in political processes in order to add weight to the demands of India's friends in Afghanistan. Beyond this supplementary role, there is little that India has to gain from starting new peace processes. India's comparative advantage in Afghanistan comes from its contribution to state capacity building and economic development and for this reason alone it will continue to stay relevant in Afghanistan, Taliban or no Taliban.
  • Nov 20, 2018
    While Modi government’s claims that India’s nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) carried out a deterrence patrol are exaggerated, it is a fact that we are getting closer to that milestone. The capability to launch nuclear-armed missiles from nuclear-powered submarines is widely regarded as the greatest form of deterrence a country can possess. Read more
  • Nov 14, 2018
    Anticompetitive practices are quite common in the internet-enabled economy, and lawmakers have struggled to keep up.Authorities must find a balance between regulation and fostering an open, healthy environment for the platform economy to thrive.
  • Nov 14, 2018
    This is the sixth edition of The Jobscape, our weekly round-up of news and opinion on the state of employment and job creation in India. In this edition, we look at political party manifestos, the effects of DeMon, and how companies are upskilling their employees. Read more
  • Nov 13, 2018
    Media headlines reporting research results often distort findings — substituting ‘newsworthiness’ for accuracy. The newsworthiness falls into two broad categories: “Whatever you thought you knew about this subject is completely wrong” or “research confirms what we knew to be right all along”. So, when a headline on BBC World this week announced that “a rising tide of nationalism in […]
  • Nov 9, 2018
    This is the fifth edition of The Jobscape, our weekly round-up of news and opinion on the state of employment and job creation in India. In this edition, we look at how international trade creates jobs in India, how many ‘Australias’ of jobs India has to generate, our abysmal gender bias and job scams. Read […]
  • Nov 6, 2018
    If it is the world’s tallest statue of one of Indian republic’s greatest leaders, and promoted by its most powerful contemporary one, it will, of course, receive a lot of public attention. But unless you are the Nizam of Hyderabad or some other reluctant prince who had to be, er, strongly persuaded to accede to the Indian […]
  • Oct 31, 2018
    Over the past few months, there has been a growing chorus of international criticism focussed on the Chinese government’s crackdown on Uygur Muslims in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. To blunt this outcry, the Communist Party has adopted a set of measures ranging from denial, obfuscation to opinion management.
  • Oct 31, 2018
    This is the fourth edition of The Jobscape, our weekly round-up of news and opinion on the state of employment and job creation in India. In this edition, we look at a range of jobs from tech and AI and how to eradicate manual scavenging. Read more
  • Oct 31, 2018
    Less than two weeks have passed since the horrific tragedy near Amritsar where 59 of the people celebrating Dussehra on railway tracks were killed, and over a 100 more injured, by a passing train. Yet, like many other such tragedies in India, it has already disappeared from public discourse. A simple analysis using Google Trends shows that interest in […]
  • Oct 29, 2018
    Apart from being ineffective, prohibition also has massive unintended consequences. Prohibition pushes the market underground and actually increases the crime rate, leads to a loss in state revenue, loss in employment and livelihoods, increases corruption, and ultimately harms the very people it seeks to protect.
  • Oct 23, 2018
    This is the third edition of The Jobscape, our fortnightly round-up of news and opinion on the state of employment and job creation in India. In this edition, Industry 4.0 holds a lot of hope for the future of jobs. Read more
  • Oct 23, 2018
    The murder of one-time Saudi regime insider and columnist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul has become riveting for many reasons. The mysterious circumstances around Khashoggi’s death inside the Saudi consulate, the gruesome manner in which he was done away with, the place where it all happened, and the key players in the aftermath and their potential fates are playing out in […]
  • Oct 16, 2018
    One of the positive trends in India’s think tank community in the past few years is the emergence of institutes that aim to study China. Last week, journalist Nitin Gokhale reported that the ministry of external affairs has set up a new think tank that includes members from intelligence, defence and trade. The higher education system has […]
  • Oct 15, 2018
    A few thoughts 1. Fundamental weaknesses in the conceptualisation of China’s external relations, especially President Xi Jinping’s Belt & Road Initiative, suggest that growth of Chinese maritime and sea power in our region will fluctuate over time. Firstly, established and aspiring powers will find greater reason to cooperate, and align against China. Note the relative fates […]
  • Oct 12, 2018
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    By Ajay Patri and Manasa Venkataraman Executive Summary This document contains recommendations and comments in response to the draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018 (Bill) released by the Committee of Experts under the Chairmanship of Justice B. N. Srikrishna (Justice Srikrishna Committee) in July 2018. At the outset, we welcome the release of the Bill […]
  • Oct 12, 2018
    Zeynep Tufecki’s book, Twitter and Tear Gas, is an insightful analysis of the impact of social media on protests and social movements in today’s radically networked societies.
  • Oct 11, 2018
    China has been one of the early movers in the AI space, and evaluating its approach to AI development can help identify important lessons and pitfalls that Indian policy makers and entrepreneurs must keep in mind.
  • Oct 5, 2018
    For some strange reason, many people in the world believe that China’s leaders are astute but inscrutable strategists, with an unusual ability to both think long-term and do long-term. Why do I say strange? Well, look at the scorecard as it stands today. First, from well before the global financial crisis of 2008, China had […]
  • Oct 3, 2018
    In this, its sixth decade of existence, the task for the leadership is to look at a world outside terrorism and to take stock of new and emerging threats. Already, its counterparts in other parts of the world have begun looking at new frontiers.
  • Oct 3, 2018
    This is the second edition of The Jobscape, our fortnightly round-up of news and opinion on the state of employment and job creation in India. In this edition, there’s good news from renewable energy and the gig economy — but with a caveat: the skilling gap. Read more
  • Oct 2, 2018
    The more I think of it, the stronger are my fears that the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Sabarimala case will hurt the very Indian republic that allowed a deeply iniquitous tradition to be overturned, allowing women equal rights to worship at the Sabarimala temple in Kerala. I am not a conservative defender of religious […]
  • Oct 1, 2018
    By Manoj Kewalramani Download the paper in PDF Executive Summary In 2017, the Chinese government unveiled a plan to develop the country into the world’s primary innovation centre for artificial intelligence (AI) by 2030. In doing so, it identified AI as a strategic industry, crucial for enhancing economic development, national security and governance. This report […]
  • Sep 26, 2018
    We are increasingly seeing the phenomenon where there are an enormous amount of applicants for a few government postings. The big obvious question here is regarding the inexplicably high demand for low paying government jobs by apparently overqualified job seekers.
  • Sep 25, 2018
    It looks like a fairytale ending. The people of the Maldives came together in large numbers and threw the tyrant out. Let’s make no bones about it: Abdulla Yameen, the man who was ousted this weekend and the Maldives’ incumbent president, is every bit of the bad guy of the story. He came to power under shady circumstances, indulged in an ‘orgy of corruption’, not […]
  • Sep 21, 2018
    The recent bank merger between Bank of Baroda, Vijaya Bank, and Dena Bank is essentially a move of cowardice, and not the bold reformist step it is touted to be. The original plan (for reforming the banking sector) was to have just 6 public sector banks, and while Modi has reduced the number from 26 to 19, there’s still a far way to go. Further, the plan was not to achieve the reduction in numbers by merging all of the public sector banks into 6 mega banks that are still in government control, but to privatise them eventually.
  • Sep 20, 2018
    Among the most exciting discoveries in recent years has been in the field of genetics and genomics, as the deciphering of the Indian genetic code has yielded fascinating insights into, “Who We Are and How We Got Here”. That’s the title of Harvard scientist David Reich’s recent book on human origins as pieced together from […]
  • Sep 18, 2018
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    Executive Summary In 2017, the Doklam plateau became a flashpoint for the Asian powers, India and China. China’s tactics in Doklam are clear examples of its general “salami-slicing” strategy, a policy of gradual encroachment onto disputed territory where other claimants are forced to accede to a new status quo tilted in China’s favour. This Discussion […]
  • Sep 18, 2018
    This is the first edition of The Jobscape, our fortnightly round-up of news and opinion on the state of employment and job creation in India. In the months ahead, we hope to delve deep into the issue, and bring you both fresh insights and sustainable solutions to a vexing issue. For more, follow us on Twitter […]
  • Sep 15, 2018
    ऑस्ट्रेलिया की ‘An India Economic Strategy to 2035’ रिपोर्ट दर्शाती है कि भारत का आर्थिक भविष्य दिल्ली से दूर उसके राज्यों और शहरों द्वारा परिभाषित किया जाएगा | और एक समृद्ध भविष्य के लिए केंद्र और राज्य सरकार दोनों को विदेश संबंधो के साधन का भरपूर फायदा उठाना चाहिए | ऐसा करने के लिए कुछ मूलभूत सुधारों की ज़रुरत है |
  • Sep 11, 2018
    Tariffs and other protectionist measures from the US have injected bitterness into its relationship with many countries and India is no exception to this.
  • Sep 11, 2018
    It has been reported that the Pakistani army chief quietly reached out to India a few months ago “to open barriers to trade between the countries, which would give Pakistan more access to regional markets”. Given the dire economic situation Pakistan is in, good neighbourliness is anyway in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s interests at this […]
  • Sep 6, 2018
    I wish to report to you, dear reader, that Mahathir Mohammed, Malaysia’s remarkable nonagenarian prime minister, has proved me right. That’s one more reason for you to read the Asian Balance regularly. You will recall I’d argued that China’s massive Belt and Road infrastructure investments will be resisted by forces of nationalism extant in Asian […]
  • Sep 4, 2018
    Last week, when the US government announced it would “re-programme” $300 million in military assistance to Pakistan, it was only the latest in a series of actions that have ratcheted up pressure on Islamabad. A year ago, when US President Donald Trump announced his Afghanistan strategy, Pakistan came in for mention only in the context […]
  • Aug 30, 2018
    नवजोत सिंह सिद्धू की झप्पी ने बड़ा बवाल उठा दिया भारत में | तो इस बार की पुलियाबाज़ी पाकिस्तान के मिलिट्री-जिहादी कॉम्प्लेक्स पर | ऐसा क्यों कि भारत-पाकिस्तान के रिश्ते सुधारने की कोई कोशिश के शुरू होते ही आतंकवादी हमले उस प्रक्रिया को विफल कर देते हैं? हमारा दावा है कि इस प्रकरण को समझने के लिए हमें जानना होगा कि पाकिस्तान में एक नहीं दो हुकूमतें है ! एक तो है उनकी सिविलियन सरकार और दूसरा – मिलिट्री-जिहादी कॉम्प्लेक्स (MJC) | कौनसी बला है यह MJC और भारत को इसका सामना कैसे करना चाहिए, जाने इस अंक में |
  • Aug 29, 2018
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    By Manasa Venkataraman and Ajay Patri The Takshashila Institution convened a Roundtable on 10 August 2018 to discuss issues arising from the documents released by the Justice Srikrishna Committee on 27 July 2018. These documents included the report titled A Free and Fair Digital Economy: Protecting Privacy, Empowering Indians and the draft Personal Data Protection Bill, […]
  • Aug 28, 2018
    The ongoing public debate on whether India should accept foreign aid to help Kerala recover after the flood disaster reminds me of an incident that occurred in December 2004. A couple of days after the devastating tsunami had ravaged India’s coastlines leaving hundreds of thousands displaced, I sought a meeting with Alok Prasad, India’s high […]
  • Aug 23, 2018
    The book Listening In by Prof Susan Landau studies the clash between the individual’s need for privacy and the law enforcement agencies’ need for access to information. It traces the evolution of cyber security and is a must read for aspiring cyber security professionals and those interested in privacy debates and cyber wars.
  • Aug 14, 2018
    Public policy is pervasive and affects us all. Knowledge of public policy is vital in many careers today. This article is about the skills that students of public policy acquire and the options to study public policy in India.
  • Aug 14, 2018
    Moving the Aero India show from Bengaluru to Lucknow — as the Modi government is reportedly considering — is a bad idea that will not only hurt India’s economic interests but also deepen the sense of grievance developing in the southern states. Political leaders in Karnataka have already come out strongly against the move. It is wholly unnecessary to move […]
  • Aug 9, 2018
    A couple of years ago, top executives of a mid-sized Western multinational found themselves in Beijing attending a strategy meeting of their Chinese subsidiary. After they covered the listed agenda, they found their local CEO cribbing about their Indian operation and how his Indian counterpart was dropping the ball, missing business opportunities and suchlike. Read […]
  • Aug 9, 2018
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    Everyone from Henry Kissinger and Donald Trump to Solomon Lane in the new Mission Impossible movie cares about the the end of the old world order. What is a world order? How is it changing? Most importantly, what should India be doing about it? In Episode 56 of The Pragati Podcast, Pranay Kotasthane and Anirudh Kanisetti join hosts Pavan Srinath and Hamsini Hariharan to discuss India’s strategies for a new world order.
  • Aug 4, 2018
    The episode includes discussions on the constitutionality of how the Aadhaar Act was passed in 2016, how and whether Aadhaar can be used by for government subsidies, taxes, and more — and whether it can be used by the private sector at all. Listen in to learn more about what to expect from the government […]
  • Aug 3, 2018
    The Government of India is trying to create the first ever law to protect your personal data and information. The Justice Srikrishna Committee has come out with a draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018. So what is the data protection bill about? Will it safeguard our privacy or create a monstrous government apparatus? Manasa Venkataraman […]
  • Aug 1, 2018
    By Anupam Manur Download the paper in PDF [620 KB] Executive Summary Multi-sided platforms possess unique characteristics that differentiate them from a normal market structure. The presence of direct and indirect network effects, high switching costs, price parity clauses, vertical integration, and differentiated pricing structures between the two sides of the platform are unique to […]
  • Jul 30, 2018
    Nothing has changed in Pakistan. Here are five areas in which Imran’s election will make no difference.
  • Jul 27, 2018
    As opposed to ‘sex work’, the term ‘prostitution’ is often associated with criminality, health risks and other anti-social traits, making it difficult to regulate officially or professionally within the conventions of socially and economically defined ‘work’. The use of the term ‘sex work’ is, thus,  necessary to separate it from these negative connotations. The acknowledgement […]
  • Jul 25, 2018
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    By Pavan Srinath, Pranay Kotasthane, Devika Kher, Aashish Chhajer Download the paper in PDF [2 MB] Executive Summary Health policy is an essential pillar of human welfare. Given the high degree of externality, the State has to play a significant role in health and healthcare provision. Unfortunately, evidence shows that public spending on healthcare in […]
  • Jul 23, 2018
    If movies are an indication, the Indian man today must have a six-pack, be an accomplished dancer and project a sensitive, borderline vulnerable look. Three decades ago, he had to be tall and tough, preferably with a deep baritone and a hairy chest. He didn’t have to pump weights in a gym then but perhaps […]
  • Jul 20, 2018
    WhatsApp is doing a lot of things in response to the union government: tagging forwarded messages as such, testing “a lower limit of five chats at once”, removing “the quick forward button next to media messages”, and promoting digital literacy. It also plans to introduce its “fake news verification model” in India ahead of the […]
  • Jul 13, 2018
    Having studiously avoided all entrance examinations for the past 25 years, I was struck last week when my colleagues showed me a few questions from the Gaokao, China’s annual national college entrance exams. Now, I’m familiar with the debate over the Gaokao and its flaws, especially over whether it selects for merit as is claimed, but I […]
  • Jul 9, 2018
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    By Anirudh Kanisetti, Anupam Manur, and Pranay Kotasthane Download the Discussion Document in PDF [1.8 MB] Executive Summary “The New World Order” is a phrase often used but rarely understood. This discussion document proposes an analytical framework to decode what a New World Order means for India. The document presents a flexible action portfolio to […]
  • Jun 27, 2018
    US President Donald Trump's unilateralism in East Asia is increasingly benefiting China. Xi Jinping’s approach, in contrast is furthering the broader narrative of a China that is open to deeper multilateral engagement.
  • Jun 27, 2018
    Cantonments may be colonial creations in their origins, but that does not mean that the military does not need exclusive spaces.
  • Jun 24, 2018
    Dilip Thakore has asked me to respond to the question “Are low tuition fees destroying Indian public higher education.” Let’s take a step back. 1. Why should the government fund higher education? The general answer to this that there are positive externalities to higher education, and that the optimum level of higher education in society is […]
  • Jun 21, 2018
    India needs to be creating around 20 million jobs year on year for the next decade or more. However, we are barely managing to create around 2 million jobs. This deficit has serious implications for the Indian economy and society.
  • Jun 20, 2018
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    By Dr. Sudha Ramachandran, Hamsini Hariharan, and Shibani Mehta Download the Assessment in PDF [1 MB] The Pasthun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), a powerful civil and human rights movement, has rattled Pakistan’s political and military establishment by drawing huge crowds. The merger of the provinces of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) can […]
  • May 22, 2018
    By Shambhavi Naik Download the Slidedoc in PDF [1.5 MB] Gene drives are being explored for alleviating vector-borne infectious diseases however, the risks of employing them need to be understood. This Slidedoc assesses the potential use of gene drives in India by performing a stage-wise risk assessment of deploying gene drive. Gene drive mosquitoes are […]
  • May 11, 2018
    To break the nexus of crime and politics in India, we should not wait until the conviction of accused candidates. Once criminal charges are framed against candidates, they should be debarred from contesting elections.
  • May 7, 2018
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    By Sudha Ramachandran, Hamsini Hariharan, and Shibani Mehta Download the Assessment in PDF [2.5 MB] Executive Summary The Doklam crisis is evidence that the regional security dynamic in the neighbourhood is being challenged. As Bhutan readies for its third National Assembly elections later this year, India must act to address Bhutanese concerns that are weakening the […]
  • May 7, 2018
    That social media in general — and WhatsApp in particular — are important channels through which bigotry is spreading, is now well-known, if less well-understood. Around ten years ago, I had begun to speculate that as mobile internet pervades societies and they become radically networked, we will see both entirely new forms of politics, and new forms […]
  • Apr 27, 2018
    By Manoj Kewalramani Download the Assessment in PDF [1.1 MB] Executive Summary Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting Wuhan for a two-day informal meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on April 27 and 28, 2018. The two leaders are expected to discuss “issues of overarching, long-term and strategic importance” along with changes in the […]
  • Apr 17, 2018
    The Social Credit System is about much more than surveillance and loyalty, as popularly understood. Nudging persons to adopt desirable behaviour and enhancing social control are part of the story. But there are larger drivers of this policy. It is fundamentally linked to the Chinese economy and its transformation to being more market driven.
  • Apr 17, 2018
    The Social Credit System is about much more than surveillance and loyalty, as popularly understood. Nudging persons to adopt desirable behaviour and enhancing social control are part of the story. But there are larger drivers of this policy. It is fundamentally linked to the Chinese economy and its transformation to being more market driven.
  • Apr 10, 2018
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    By Sudha Ramachandran, Hamsini Hariharan, and Shibani Mehta Download the Assessment in PDF [700 KB] Executive Summary The victory of the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) in the local bodies’ elections in Sri Lanka in February reflects public dissatisfaction with the ruling coalition’s performance. It also indicates that Rajapaksa continues to […]
  • Apr 3, 2018
    Xi Jinping has promised to provide “Chinese solutions” to world problems. But China strategy for managing conflict has serious flaws, as it looks at conflict largely from an economic prism, glossing over deep-seated ethnic, religious and linguistic fissures, along with stakeholder grievances over lack of participation in governance.
  • Mar 27, 2018
    The United States’ listing of China as a “competitor,” “rival” and “revisionist power” in its National Security Strategy has led many to postulate the beginning of a new Cold War. Unfortunately, that construct is neither sufficient nor instructive in understanding the changes that are afoot in the international order.
  • Mar 27, 2018
    This article is a book review of the fascinating book Who Gets What and Why, by Nobel laureate Alvin Roth. Roth studies the design of matching markets and identifies the four pillars for an efficient design using examples of markets such as the university and school admissions and kidney donations.
  • Mar 26, 2018
    If the objective of general-purpose transfers is to enable comparable levels of public services at comparable tax rates, it is only fair that the latest population data be used. Justifying the use of dated population data (1971 census) assumes that general-purpose transfers are levers for family planning. They aren’t. Family planning and population control are better managed through interventions on the expenditure side of budgets. The idea of punishing individuals elsewhere in the country just because these areas continue to languish goes diametrically against the Indian Republic’s spirit. If this argument of southern-versus-northern states is followed through, a direct corollary would be to also oppose money flows from Bengaluru to Bidar, or from Whitefield to south Bengaluru.
  • Mar 22, 2018
    Almost every digital major out there – from Google to Amazon, Ola to Swiggy – plays both platform and player to expand their reach and market. This itself is not anti-competitive but it becomes unfair practice when the platforms violate the neutrality of platforms and take benefit of data of others on the platform to its benefit. India does not have an adequate legal framework to deal with this yet but it can explore different options even if it means moving from textbook regulation.
  • Mar 19, 2018
    The Indian government had promised to set up a Nudge Unit and use the insights of behavioural economics to shape public policy. The 2018 Union budget revealed no signs of it.
  • Mar 19, 2018
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    Our data, taken without our consent, can be used for informational warfare that harms our democracy. The actions of social media and analytics companies are a clear threat to voters’ rights to make free and fair choices.
  • Mar 12, 2018
    There are certain common misconception about protectionism – that tariffs help in protecting jobs and infant industries, are a useful measure against dumping, and improving the trade balance, among others. In this podcast, we explore these various myths of protectionism.
  • Mar 10, 2018
    Xi's rapid consolidation of power has led some to conclude that China is descending into an era of dictatorship, with an all-powerful strongman in charge. Despite all the accumulation of power, however, Xi, and even the party itself, are far more vulnerable than is apparent.
  • Mar 10, 2018
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    By Anirudh Kanisetti, Hamsini Hariharan, and Manoj Kewalramani Download the Discussion Slidedoc in PDF [1.4 MB] This Slidedoc presents a strategic framework that provides insights into China’s behaviour and highlights various alternative policies that China may consider for engagement in the Indian Subcontinent. An underlying assumption is that China is modeled as a rational actor […]
  • Mar 7, 2018
    The belief that an increase of fire power on the LoC will impact Pakistan’s cross-border terrorism is illusory. Ceasefire must be restored.
  • Mar 5, 2018
    Several recent events have contributed to speculation that the military’s apolitical nature is being compromised.
  • Feb 21, 2018
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    By Rahul Matthan, Manasa Venkataraman, and Ajay Patri Download the Policy Advisory in PDF [650 KB] The Justice Srikrishna Committee (formally called the Committee of Experts under the Chairmanship of Justice B N Srikrishna) is tasked with framing a robust data protection law for India. In November, 2017, the Committee released the White Paper – […]
  • Feb 16, 2018
    Poor parents are voting with their feet by shifting their kids from free government schools to budget private schools. The government has failed to provide quality education. Here’s an unintuitive solution for Mumbai. Sell municipal schools. Use the proceeds to fund the education of the poor. Read more
  • Feb 8, 2018
    A strong data protection law must be enacted and penalties imposed on irresponsible handling and leakage of private data.
  • Feb 2, 2018
    Job creation remains India’s biggest economic challenge. Analysing the 2018 union budget through the jobs lens is bound to leave one disappointed. The first impression is that the gravity of the employment situation has not descended on the present government. Focusing on small and micro-enterprises and entrepreneurship will not deliver the amount of jobs that is required.
  • Jan 31, 2018
    Our weekly explainer on economics using lessons from popular culture. In Installment 32, Mark Zuckerberg and Gurukant Desai illustrate the Survivorship Bias. Early on in Mani Ratnam’s 2007 film Guru, Gurukant Desai defies his schoolteacher father and leaves his village and education behind to go to Turkey and start working. He later opens his own business and becomes […]
  • Jan 23, 2018
    How do our brains work? Why do we behave the way we behave? Unthink by Chris Paley has some excellent insights. Chris Paley’s Unthink is a ride into our minds, both the conscious and the unconscious. But wait, according to him, minds don’t exist. The unconscious rules our lives and we are but zombies lurching inside our own brains. […]
  • Jan 12, 2018
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    By Anirudh Kanisetti, Anupam Manur, Pranay Kotasthane, and Akshay Alladi Download the Discussion Document in PDF [5 MB] Over the next quarter century, the international order is likely to change considerably. A new geopolitical and macroeconomic context will necessitate a flexible strategy to maximise India’s national interest. In this Discussion Document, an analytical framework is […]
  • Jan 5, 2018
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    Download the Blue Paper in PDF [430 KB] This Blue Paper was prepared as a result of a roundtable discussion organised by the Takshashila Institution on 15 December 2017, based on the Discussion Document: A Framework for Governing Gene Editing. The discussion document developed an analytical framework to differentiate gene editing technologies into three broad […]
  • Dec 19, 2017
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    By Pranay Kotasthane and Vinay Kumar Singh Download the Working Paper in PDF [640 KB] Abstract The views of de Zwart (2015) related to the conflation of terms, “unintended consequences” and “unanticipated consequences”, the necessity to maintain their distinction and the need to take into account the “unintended but anticipated” consequences as a separate category […]
  • Nov 23, 2017
    The present scenario offers fertile ground for the emergence of a bad emperor. However, whether Xi fits the bill will depend on how efficiently the new system functions and whether he prioritizes political loyalty as an end in itself, rather than a means to achieve his goal.
  • Nov 21, 2017
    Power is not enough to be a dominant geopolitical player. You also need Legitimacy. That is why China will not replace the US anytime soon.
  • Nov 17, 2017
    In part due to the political economy of British colonial rule and in part due to ethnic Bamar nationalism, Myanmar (earlier Burma) has always nursed an antipathy for Indian people and for the Indian state. It is an old sentiment with its roots in the late nineteenth century, following the arrival of Indian moneylenders, middle-class […]
  • Oct 18, 2017
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    By Rahul Matthan, Manasa Venkataraman, and Ajay Patri Download the policy advisory in PDF [418 KB] This policy advisory is a curated set of responses to the discussion paper issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, seeking comments and suggestions on the creation of data protection laws. Executive Summary There is an urgent need […]
  • Oct 18, 2017
    This policy advisory is a curated set of responses to the discussion paper issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, seeking comments and suggestions on the creation of data protection laws. Executive Summary There is an urgent need to bring forth effective data protection norms in India. However, these norms must be introduced and […]
  • Oct 17, 2017
    By Anand Arni Download the assessment here [0.3MB PDF] This assessment takes a closer look at the events leading to the release of the Boyle-Coleman family from captivity in Pakistan. Key judgments from the assessment are: it is likely that this release is an offering presented by Pakistan before the Mattis/Tillerson visit to Pakistan. A clearer indication […]
  • Oct 13, 2017
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    By Madhav Chandavarkar, Anirudh Kanisetti, Shambhavi Naik, and Ajay Patri Download the Discussion Document in PDF [1.2 MB] Executive Summary Gene editing offers many benefits. They range from basic research that can enhance the scientific understanding of gene functions to practical applications like improved healthcare and agricultural production. At the same time, like other developing […]
  • Oct 11, 2017
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    Download the Blue Paper in PDF [480 KB[ This Blue Paper was prepared as a result of a roundtable discussion organised by the Takshashila Institution on 4 September 2017, based on the Discussion Document, Beyond Consent: A New Paradigm for Data Protection. The discussion document brings forth a rights-based model (Rights Model) to help secure […]
  • Oct 11, 2017
    This Blue Paper was prepared as a result of a roundtable discussion organised by the Takshashila Institution on 4 September 2017, based on the Discussion Document, Beyond Consent: A New Paradigm for Data Protection. The discussion document brings forth a rights-based model (Rights Model) to help secure the interests of a data subject sharing his […]
  • Sep 23, 2017
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    By Madhav Chandavarkar, Anirudh Kanisetti, Ajay Patri, and Shambhavi Naik Download the Slides in PDF [460 KB] Gene editing, the idea of modifying genes, has long been the stuff of science fiction. But recent advancements in genetic editing has brought the discourse surrounding genetic editing to the forefront. Much of the discourse on gene editing, […]
  • Sep 12, 2017
    “Hey, the prime minister just announced that India will double farmers’ incomes by 2022. How can that be achieved?” I put this question to a farmer friend a few months ago. His response came instantly: “By reducing the number of farmers by half.” He might have been flippant, but the underlying logic behind the response […]
  • Sep 11, 2017
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    By Pranay Kotasthane, Guru Aiyar, and Nitin Pai This is a draft of a chapter submitted to Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Pakistan, August 2017, Edited by Aparna Pande, ISBN: 9781138903715 Download the book chapter [PDF] Pakistan is not one geopolitical entity, but two: the putative state (represented currently by a civilian government), and the military—jihadi […]
  • Aug 16, 2017
    Right now, a fundamental change is taking place in the way we look at privacy. This could be due to how porous technology has been, our increasing urbanization, and greater exposure to other cultures. These past few months have been remarkable for the way we think of privacy, and will hopefully inspire good regulation one […]
  • Jul 20, 2017
    By Rahul Matthan Download the Discussion Document in PDF [800 KB] EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Data protection is confined by consent (Consent Model). Once a data subject’s consent is obtained, a data controller is free to collect, process and use such data for the specified purpose and will not be liable for any consequences that might result […]
  • Jul 7, 2017
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    By The Takshashila Geostrategy Team The situation in the India-China border looks tense as the region is experiencing one of the longest impasse between Indian and Chinese troops. If the situation escalates into a potential conflict, the costs for both India and China are significantly high. This graphical representation provides an analysis of how India […]
  • Jul 7, 2017
    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Data protection is confined by consent (Consent Model). Once a data subject’s consent is obtained, a data controller is free to collect, process and use such data for the specified purpose and will not be liable for any consequences that might result from its actions. This places the onus on an individual to […]
  • Jun 14, 2017
    By Pranay Kotasthane Download the paper in PDF [2.3 MB] The India-Pakistan conflict has variously been described as an ‘enduring rivalry’ or a ‘protracted conflict’ — characterised by its long duration, recurrence of armed exchanges, and the involvement of state and non-state actors. This entrenched conflict began with the birth of the two states in […]
  • Jun 12, 2017
    Download the slides as PDF [455 KB] The sharing of waters between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu of the Kaveri river has been the source of a serious political conflict between the states. The current river water management system system relies on court-administered water quotas, which is broken and dysfunctional. These slides propose to replace it […]
  • Jun 6, 2017
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    By Nitin Pai and Pranay Kotasthane Download the book chapter in PDF [214 KB] The debate of liberty versus security gains special significance in India with the emergence of Radically Networked Societies (RNSs). A Radically Networked Society is defined as a web of hyper connected individuals, possessing an identity (imagined or real), and motivated by […]
  • May 31, 2017
    This article is a book review of Cass Sunstein’s book #Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media. Sunstein argues that the perfect filtering that platforms like Facebook and Twitter provide is a serious challenge to democratic deliberation and free expression.
  • Feb 25, 2017
    This is a review of the book When Crime Pays by Milan Vaishnav. Using the framework of an electoral marketplace, Vaishnav studies the nexus of politics, money, and muscle.
  • Feb 10, 2017
    One of the most interesting developments in India over the past decade or so have been the attempts to create new intellectual bases to challenge the hold that the Progressive Left has in Indian politics, media and academies. This is not merely of armchair interest — because politics is essentially a quest for narrative dominance, challenging the […]
  • Feb 8, 2017
    By Nitin Pai Download the slides as PDF [680 KB] Climate change has emerged as an important threat multiplier across the world. The instability brought forth by climate change has resulted in natural disasters, droughts and resource shortages in several regions, sometimes resulting in drastic migration of populace. In the Indian context, the rising river […]
  • Jan 31, 2017
    It’s twitter. So it should not be surprising that it didn’t long for my tweet supporting ACLU against Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees to turn into a debate on caste. I also found out that I am not qualified to have an opinion on the latter because, well, of who I am. Responses from thoughtful, otherwise sensible and […]
  • Jan 19, 2017

    By Ratish Srivastava (@socilia13) States in India can play a bigger role in foreign policy formulation with active engagement in pursuing global economic opportunities, resource management, security issues and environmental issues. However, does that mean the centre will lose power to states as they push for greater autonomy? The devolution of power from the centre […]

    The post Devolution of Power from Centre to State appeared first on Logos.

  • Jan 19, 2017

    By Ratish Srivastava (@socilia13) Historically, developing and emerging economies have participated in international negotiations but with time, the alliance has been strained, particularly between India and China. What does the developing world want? The developing world is diverse in terms of development, capacity of domestic government and power at the negotiation table in international conferences. […]

    The post The South-South Divergence on Global Environmental Regulations appeared first on Logos.

  • Jan 17, 2017

    There is a myriad of information, along with conflicting views of whether and how Russia influenced the 2016 US Presidential elections. With multiple stakeholders on both sides of media and intelligence agencies attempting to convince or confuse the populace, the issue gets complicated to make sense of even the basic aspects of this information war. […]

    The post Mind map of the Russian Influence Campaign on the US 2016 Presidential Elections appeared first on Logos.

  • Jan 15, 2017

    Russian influence campaign against US 2016 elections shows the need for India to develop its own information warfare capabilities, not only to protect itself from foreign influence, but also to launch offensive operations to protect its national interests. During the 2016 US Presidential election race, Wikileaks leaked over 19,000 emails and 800 attachments from the […]

    The post India needs a Guccifer of its own to play in the big leagues appeared first on Logos.

  • Jan 10, 2017

    In the near future, it’s unlikely that Mongolia will position itself as one of the allies in India’s efforts to balance out Chinese influence | by Pranay Kotasthane (@pranaykotas) Mongolia’s supposed volte-face has attracted the attention of India’s strategic community in the last few days. A simplified sequence of events is as follows: In May 2015, Mr Modi […]

    The post Exploring Mongolia’s balancing behaviour appeared first on Logos.

  • Jan 10, 2017

    Typical multiplex experience in Chennai – Popcorn: ₹180; Pepsi: ₹200. The all important movie ticket: only ₹120. By Natarajan Ramalingam (@natrajdr) While a cinema ticket in a multiplex costs ₹250 or more in other metros, the price caps set by the the state government in Chennai provides the same ticket at significantly lower costs. Sounds […]

    The post When Popcorn Costs More than the Movie appeared first on Logos.

  • Jan 10, 2017

    by Pranay Kotasthane (@pranaykotas) There have been some excellent books on various aspects of the Pakistan state in the last couple of years. However, I found one feature missing these books: a power-centric timeline of Pakistan. By this, I mean listing all major events since Pakistan’s independence in conjunction with the occupants of the most important […]

    The post A power-centric timeline of Pakistan appeared first on Logos.

  • Jan 9, 2017

    India needs to develop a coherent and strong diaspora strategy that includes strategic evacuation operations By Guru Aiyar (@guruaiyar) As Bangalore played host the 15th edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas (PBD) from January 7-9, it is interesting to ponder over how a strong Indian diaspora policy has evolved over a period of time and […]

    The post India’s Diaspora outreach — Is it a double edged sword? appeared first on Logos.

  • Jan 7, 2017

    by Pranay Kotasthane (@pranaykotas) Bárbara Reis, Editor-in-chief of the Portuguese magazine Publico asked me to comment on Portugal PM António Costa’s ongoing trip to India. Here are the questions and answers. [The full interview on the Public website is here] Q: How would you describe India-Portugal bilateral relation, in particular compared with other European countries? I’d put Portugal as […]

    The post On India—Portugal relations appeared first on Logos.

  • Jan 7, 2017

    A brief overview of India’s lines of Credit to other nation-states by Pranay Kotasthane (@pranaykotas) India’s relationship with Mongolia has been in the news recently. After the Dalai Lama visited the Buddhist country, China suspended ongoing talks to grant a $4.2 billion loan and made Mongolia’s Foreign Minister apologise for permitting the visit. When Mongolia’s ambassador urged India to […]

    The post Data story: Lines of Credit supported by India appeared first on Logos.

  • Jan 5, 2017

    By Ganesh Chakravarthi (@crg_takshashila) A buzz on my wrist wakes me. I open my smartphone and see the status of my smart band synchronising my sleep schedule. My first cup of coffee and breakfast, the smart band takes readings. I go for a run, my smart band goes on overdrive. My ride to work takes […]

    The post Smart Watches and Privacy Concerns appeared first on Logos.

  • Jan 3, 2017

    By Ratish Srivastava (@socilia13) The involvement of states in India’s foreign policy making could be vital in launching India onto the next phase of development. The centre holds executive power in all matters related to foreign policy as stipulated in Article 246a, 7th schedule. Indian states already have many responsibilities like improving infrastructure for public […]

    The post Why States Need to be Involved in India’s Foreign Policy appeared first on Logos.

  • Jan 3, 2017

    The Japanese story of achieving low-cost healthcare through price controls By Aneesh Mugulur (@mugulur) Between 1980 and 1992, Japan’s price controls in the healthcare sector led to the decline of physician fees by 19%. In 1991, Japan’s infant mortality rate was just 0.45% of live births in comparison to the United States of America’s figure […]

    The post Controlling Healthcare Costs in Japan appeared first on Logos.

  • Jan 2, 2017

    The government’s most recent amendment mandating that wages be paid by cheque or bank transfers is a welcome by-product of the demonetization drive. President Pranab Mukherjee promulgated with immediate effect an ordinance amending the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 on 28 December 2016 (Ordinance). Amending an 80 year old law that required payments to be […]

    The post A welcome twist to demonetization appeared first on Logos.

  • Dec 30, 2016

    By Guru Aiyar (@guruaiyar)  A mixed year of  hits and misses, what is most pertinent for defence policy is military modernization and overdue defence reforms The year that has gone by has been a mixed one as far as defence forces of India are concerned. It started with an attack on Pathankot airbase . Observers […]

    The post Snapshot of 2016 military modernisation in India appeared first on Logos.

  • Dec 30, 2016

    Currently, the space for Indian states to play a role in foreign policy is largely in the economic realm. One of the growingly popular frameworks to analyse how sub state actors can play a role in foreign policy is paradiplomacy. According to Adam Grydehoj, paradiplomacy is a political entity’s extra-jurisdictional activity targeting foreign political entities. […]

    The post Locating the paradiplomacy of Indian states appeared first on Logos.

  • Dec 28, 2016

    Kerala, Gujarat and Punjab show that states can play an important role in diaspora relations. States are maneuvering around foreign policy considerations by reaching out to Non Resident Indians (NRIs). Foreign Policy is considered the domain of the Union Government however, some state government have proved adept at working around this by focusing on selected […]

    The post Nadaan Parindey, ghar aaja appeared first on Logos.

  • Dec 27, 2016

    How the price freeze at supermarkets in Argentina left consumers in an unrelenting dilemma with regard to grocery shopping By Sreetama Sen (@SenSreetama) The Argentinian government, under the presidency of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in 2013, imposed a strict price control mechanism on necessary goods being sold at larger supermarkets across the country. This action […]

    The post Shopping at Supermarkets in Argentina? No, Thanks! appeared first on Logos.

  • Dec 27, 2016

    By Anirudh Kanisetti 13th century, an era when the Mongols were considered the Scourge of God, had rulers from Hungary to China quaking in their boots at the mere thought of a Mongol attack. One potentate however was a notable exception: he was, in fact, in the habit of defeating Mongol raids and keeping his […]

    The post When Economic Policy Saved India from the Mongols appeared first on Logos.

  • Dec 23, 2016

    By Sandesh Anand While a strong focus on preventing India’s cyber assets is required, it is a reasonable assumption to make that there will be more cyber attacks in 2017. These attacks will lead to sensitive information leakage, lack of availability of your favorite internet services and other disruptions common during a cyber attack. It is hence important […]

    The post A breach notification strategy for cyber attacks is needed appeared first on Logos.

  • Dec 20, 2016
    By Dr. M Govinda Rao Download the essay in PDF [379 KB] India’s growth story remains highly attractive at a time of fragile global economic recovery, uneven growth and tremendous uncertainty around the global financial and commodity markets. However, taking the economy to a higher growth trajectory over the medium and long term requires considerable […]
  • Dec 12, 2016
    Over the past few weeks, many people have asked me (just as they’ve asked each other) what I think of the Modi government’s currency reform (popularly known as ‘demonetisation’). To this day, my response has been that PM Modi has taken a very risky bet, and it’s too early to tell how things will turn […]
  • Dec 4, 2016
    By Dr. M Govinda Rao Download the essay in PDF [121 KB] The ruling party has hailed the Prime Minister’s announcement of ₹500 and ₹1000 notes becoming invalid as an historic and unprecedented attack on black economy. Conversely, the opposition has called the move a ‘monumental blunder’ and an ‘organised loot.’ For the most part, […]
  • Dec 1, 2016
    by Pranay Kotasthane, The Takshashila Institution Download the Analysis in PDF [0.8MB] These slides interpret the “surgical strikes” conducted after the Uri terrorist attacks, using the India—Pakistan Conflict Escalation Framework. Based on this framework, the document proposes factors that can help make an Operational Conventional Retaliation work. This paper was presented at  the Takshashila Roundtable on […]
  • Nov 30, 2016
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    By Anupam Manur and Manasa Venkataraman Download the discussion document in PDF An Account of Unaccounted Income is a discussion document that takes an in-depth look at India’s unaccounted economy. It is important to distinguish between different categories of unaccounted economy, each of which has different method of functioning and different implications for the economy. […]
  • Nov 29, 2016
    Download the Blue Paper in PDF[526kB] This Blue Paper on the contemporary role of airpower was prepared as a result of discussions with AVM Arjun Subramaniam. The discussions were held as part of Takshashila’s Bangalore Fellows Programme. The Blue Paper addresses the following questions: How does India go towards a mixed force structure of manned […]
  • Nov 23, 2016
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    By Madhav Chandavarkar and Manasa Venkataraman Download the Discussion Document in PDF (248 KB) Executive Summary The law for defamation in India impedes free speech more than it protects reputations. While it is vital to protect an individual’s right to reputation, this must not come at the cost of the right to criticise as the […]
  • Nov 23, 2016
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    By Nitin Pai and Anupam Manur Download India’s Currency Reform 2016 in PD (455 KB) The recent withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination notes as legal tender has evoked various responses. On one hand the government’s stance is that this will reduce a large portion of unaccounted money (also popularly known as black […]
  • Nov 2, 2016
    By Dr. M Govinda Rao Download the essay in PDF [442 KB] Given the political inclination to indulge in fiscal profligacy, it is important to ensure calibration of rule based fiscal policy to provide space to conduct monetary policies. Although there has been considerable progress in the conduct of rule based fiscal policy and ensuring […]
  • Oct 12, 2016

    By Swati Sudhakaran The historic collapse of an almost-historic peace accord A mere formality gone wrong? The citizens of Colombia just voted out what could have been an historic peace accord to end the war ravaging their country for the last 50 years. The plebiscite was supposedly just another box to be ticked in the […]

    The post Colombia’s Path to Peace appeared first on Logos.

  • Oct 12, 2016

    Can we have a proliferation of broadband access through public Wi-Fi networks? What are the issues and challenges? The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India held a public workshop in Bangalore on the 28th of September 2016. The objective of the workshop was to look at the possible commercial models for providing public Wi-Fi hotspots. The […]

    The post Commercial models for Public Wi-Fi appeared first on Logos.

  • Oct 10, 2016

    Following the Uri Attacks, the 19th SAARC Summit that was due to take place on the 15th and 16th of November has been postponed. India refused to attend the summit, placing the blame on cross border terrorism perpetrated by a single country. Soon, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan also chose to opt out of […]

    The post SAARC: A Sunk Cost appeared first on Logos.

  • Feb 14, 2019
    This is the tenth edition of The Jobscape, our weekly round-up of news and opinion on the state of employment and job creation in India. In this edition, we look at the official job numbers from the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), the interim budget, universal basic income and lessons from China. Read more
  • Feb 11, 2019
    दिसंबर 2018 के चुनाव में जीत कर शेख हसीना एक बार फिर बांग्लादेश की प्रधानमंत्री बन गई हैं। यह भारत-बांग्लादेश संबंधों के लिए अच्छी खबर है यह तो हम सब जानते हैं। लेकिन कम ही लोग यह जानते हैं कि बांग्लादेश की आर्थिक प्रगति के कारनामे ने इस रिश्ते को एक नया आयाम दिया है। […]
  • Feb 10, 2019
    The promise of delivering speedy justice has moved members of the Lok Sabha to okay the , 2018, early last month. In response to concerns about privacy violations, the Bill proposes constituting a regulatory board, which will have the difficult task of finding ways to secure informed consent from people who may not understand what […]
  • Feb 5, 2019
    Is it possible to consider no-first use as a means of bridging trust deficits between nuclear states? The present international system is as dangerous as it was in 1953 – at the start of the nuclear arms race. At least that’s what the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists believes, as the Doomsday Clock remains at two minutes […]
  • Feb 5, 2019
    Could an ill-tempered tweet lead to nuclear war? A new bill in the US Senate aims to make it less likely. A new bill introduced in the Senate of the United States aims to establish a policy of no-first use (NFU) of nuclear weapons. At first glance, the bill dated January 30, 2019 seems to be a long […]
  • Jan 29, 2019
    The cookie dropped yesterday. After weeks of suspense, the US government charged Huawei, a Chinese networking equipment manufacturer, with violating US sanctions and stealing trade secrets from its American partner. The specific charges apart, US officials have made no secret that the action has two broader dimensions — the ongoing trade war with China and the wider geopolitical contest […]
  • Jan 26, 2019
    On the surface, it might appear to be paradoxical that while Prime Minister Narendra Modi once declared that the Constitution is a “holy book”, his government has presided over the weakening of several important institutions: the Council of Ministers is now fully subordinate to the PMO, and once relatively independent RBI, Central Information Commission and […]
  • Jan 24, 2019
    After the Canadian government arrested Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer and daughter of the founder of Huawei, a Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer, upon an extradition request by the United States, relations between China and Canada have taken a nosedive. In barely concealed retaliation, China arrested two Canadians over the past month, and then summarily re-sentenced […]
  • Jan 24, 2019
    This is the ninth edition of The Jobscape, our weekly round-up of news and opinion on the state of employment and job creation in India. In this edition, we look at the ministrations of Modi’s ministers, Ambani vs Bezos, jobs for trans men, and unfair taxes on angel investors. Read more
  • Jan 22, 2019
    Tony Joseph’s Early Indians, though not perfect, is nevertheless an important, accessible and thought-provoking work on Indian prehistory. Ghosts of Ancestors Past
  • Jan 22, 2019
    Over the past few days the #10YearChallenge meme on social media prompted people to post their 2009 selfies alongside their 2019 ones. Most people were interested in how they and other people had aged; while some posted snippets of how their life had changed from 10 years ago. Now imagine if you did this for […]
  • Jan 19, 2019
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    An article on Trump’s barbs that India is only building ‘libraries’ in Afghanistan. We find that though conveyed crudely, there is some truth in his argument – India has not done much since August 2017 when Trump announced his previous Afghanistan approach. So we look at some options for India on the security, political, and […]
  • Jan 16, 2019
    This is the eighth edition of The Jobscape, our weekly round-up of news and opinion on the state of employment and job creation in India. In this edition, we look at lost jobs , the new reservations, sexism and much more. Read more
  • Jan 16, 2019
    In my previous column “Towards global no-first use”(November 20), I had argued that as India acquires a reliable nuclear triad — the ability to carry out retaliatory strikes by land, air, sea and under-sea — we must adopt a new approach to our nuclear policy: “The completion of the triad calls for a profound review […]
  • Jan 15, 2019
    To untangle the sordid controversy over the removal, restitution and re-removal of Alok Verma as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director, it is useful to look at the affair from the perspective of ‘dharma’. Now the word ‘dharma’ is derived from the root ‘dhr’, which means ‘to hold together, to preserve, maintain or keep’. Dharma, therefore, is a set […]
  • Jan 12, 2019
    The FDI in e-commerce policy clarifications made by the DIPP was done in order to help the small retailers from getting exploited at the hands of the big e-commerce players. While it may help them in the short run, an atmosphere that is not conducive to investment in this sector is bound to hurt them […]
  • Jan 10, 2019
    , and
    The US-China Trade War goes well beyond tariffs on steel. Tariffs might just be a current battle, but the real conflict between China and the United States could be on technology dominance. In Part two of the podcast, we talk about how the first moves have been made now in a US-China War for Technology. To use […]
  • Jan 10, 2019
    , and
    In this podcast, we take a deep look at the trade-war between US and China. We begin by questioning the terminology itself. Is it a trade-war? Or is it just a tariff-battle? Further, we look at the domestic political economy of both the countries and how that manifests into such protectionist measures.
  • Jan 9, 2019
    In November 2018, the New York Times published a series that began with a story titled, The Land that Failed to Fail. The central argument of the piece is that defying Western expectations, the Communist Party has maintained its control in China while adopting elements of capitalism, eschewing political liberalisation, and pursuing innovation. The last of these three […]
  • Jan 8, 2019
    The Bulandshahr incident of December 2018 bears all the hallmarks of mobilised violence: an undisguised political purpose, backing from well-organised groups, and a disregard for the lives of civilians and police personnel alike. In addition to the loss of life and property, such violence undermines the state of liberty in the country. For the violence is often […]
  • Jan 8, 2019
    One of the signs of good literature is the ability to stay relevant with the passage of time. Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible, written in the 1950s, uses the Salem witch trials as an allegory for the paranoia surrounding Communism in the US after the end of the Second World War. It is a testament to […]
  • Jan 8, 2019
    The amount of information in a message, American engineer-mathematician Claude Shannon realised, is closely associated with its uncertainty. Shannon’s pioneering work on information theory follows from the simple insight that the more surprising a message is, the more information it carries. If you get a text message saying ‘the sun will set around 6 pm […]
  • Jan 7, 2019
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    There is a need to protect the data belonging to individuals in these situations, providing the government with two possible policy options: it can choose to either overhaul the Aadhaar architecture completely, or it can build in additional security measures to ensure that individual data is not compromised. Uninventing Aadhaar is not a practical proposal. […]
  • Jan 7, 2019
    As the GDPR seeks to protect data users in Europe (and regions where the EU laws apply), it might not really make a difference to data users in India. However, this law extends to both citizens as well as non citizens within the boundaries of the continent. So, if you have plans to travel to […]
  • Jan 7, 2019
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    We started this Brainstorm still reeling from the sweet rush of the Supreme Court decision declaring privacy as a fundamental right in India. This was followed by the encouraging news of an Expert Committee working on a new data protection law. Things seemed to be moving in the right direction: individuals would be vested with […]
  • Jan 7, 2019
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    A week ago, the Justice Srikrishna Committee released a draft Personal Data Protection Bill and a Report to go with it. This is another step in the progress that has been made in the past year to create a data protection framework for India. It started with the Supreme Court judgement that recognised privacy as […]
  • Jan 2, 2019
    2018 was the year when India looked beyond Pakistan and South Asia. Let 2019 be the year when India reimagines itself as an important node in several neighbourhoods. Read the full article on Pragati here.
  • Jan 2, 2019
    In January 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping stood at the podium in Davos defending economic globalisation. He argued that the world needed to “adapt to and guide economic globalization, cushion its negative impact, and deliver its benefits to all countries and all nations.” And in this process, “China’s development is an opportunity for the world.” […]
  • Jan 1, 2019
    The focus has to be on reforming PSU Banks and managing fiscal situation both at centre and states. The fiscal situation in the country continues to be under severe strain, and with the impending general election, there is a severe danger of setting the clock back. The finance minister has continued to assert that the […]